April 23, 2012

India : Bollywood here I come!

Continuation from here ...

After the Golden Triangle, I planned to go to Jaisalmer. Unfortunately, all trains heading that route were sold out. The next available days were 3 days later. I couldn't wait that long so I thought of going the other way round, to Varanasi. Again to my dismay, the route was fully booked. Well... this is the disadvantage if you didn't book your tickets earlier.

After studying India's map, I asked about tickets to Mumbai. Thank God, they had available seats. If not, I didn't know how many of my days would be wasted in Jaipur. Don't get me wrong. Jaipur is a nice city. It's just that I couldn't afford to stay there longer. I needed to get going.

I got a seat on Jaipur-Mumbai SuperFast Express (train number 12956).

My train departed at 2.10pm so I decided to just hang out at the hotel in the morning. After lunch, I checked out from the hotel and took an auto-rickshaw to Jaipur train station. The ride cost only Rs40 which came together with a marriage proposal. hahahaha...

Seriously, the driver asked me to marry him! On our way to the train station, he kept on asking me personal questions. Then he said he was alone and he was looking for a wife. I just layan-ed him talking because I didn't want to be rude. When we finally reached the train station, just as I handed him the fare, he asked me whether I wanted to be his wife. You kidding me, dude? I didn't answer him, instead I told him I needed to go into the station fast to check on my train. But he was persistent ok. He asked me for my phone number and my email address. That poor guy got a fake number and email address from me. *guilty*

Anyway, this is Jaipur Railway Station.

As I mentioned before, all trains' departure time are listed on display board. So don't trust anyone who says your train was cancelled or anything. Just check all the info here.

The train left at 2.10pm sharp. The journey would take 17 hours and 40 minutes, with 17 stops altogether. 

17 hours sounds like a very long journey. Indeed, it was a long journey but I enjoyed looking at the outside view as the train was moving. Plus, my neighbors in the compartment were nice people. I was the only foreigner in the coach so they were extra nice to me. One uncle asked me where did I come from. When I told him I came from Malaysia he was so delighted. He told me he's been to Malaysia a few times for business purpose and our people treated him well so he said he should extend the generosity to me.

The journey covered a distance of 1158km. We reached Mumbai Central station at 7.50am. As I went out of the train, I looked around me but I was blur. The train station was big I didn't know where to head. I think I looked so lost that within a few seconds, a few men were circling me offering taxi rides. Thank God at that time, that friendly uncle and his wife were nearby. I shooed the guys away telling them I was with the family. I quickly went to them and asked whether I could follow them out, afraid that the guys would follow me. 

On our way out from the station, I asked him where to get taxis and guess what? He said his driver was waiting outside and he offered to send me to my destination. He told me that I would definitely got cheated by the taxi drivers. He repeatedly told me that he was treated very well in Malaysia so he didn't want me to be treated badly during my stay here. 

His offer was very good but I didn't want to burden him. I wanted to go to Colaba, one of the busy areas in Mumbai. It was peak hour and people were rushing to go to work so I told him I was ok with taking taxi. But he still insisted. Just as we walked to his car, we passed by a pre-paid taxi booth. 

Pre-paid taxi rates are fixed so you will not get cheated. So I told the uncle I would take this pre-paid taxi and not to worry about me. He agreed with that so we bid goodbye to each other. The ride from Mumbai to Colaba cost Rs171. Oh one thing you should know, there are no auto-rickshaw in Mumbai so taxi is your best choice apart from the suburban railway.  

I told the taxi driver to drop me at The Red Shield hostel in Colaba. He didn't know where that was. Luckily I had a map with me so we arrived at the hostel safely. 

People said cost of living in Mumbai is very expensive. All the hotels here are also expensive. But I got the cheapest stay in Mumbai, thanks to this hostel. 

Paid only Rs225 per night for the dorm, and it included breakfast! 

Red Shield
Red Shield House, 30, Boram Behram (Mereweather) Rd
Phone : 022-2284 1824 
Email : redshield@vsnl.net

After refreshing myself, I went out to Churchgate to check on trains to Pune. There is a tourist office here where you can get information on places of interest in Mumbai. 

It is located just across Churchgate Suburban Railway station. The reservation office for Western Railway is just next door to the tourist office.

But again, I was disappointed as all trains to Pune were sold out! Fine. Bollywood, entertain me please!


cik kodok said...

Oh maiiiiii... India!
I love india so much.. promise myself to 'touch' India again one fine day heheh.

rara said...

cik kodok: hi! I pon suka india.. will definitely repeat one day. :)